Friday, February 22, 2008

My Take on Diary of the Dead

I'm a nerd! Because I like zombie movies so much I made the nearly 30 mile drive to see Diary of the Dead off of the South Sam Houston Tollway and IH-45. That theatre was one of only two in the Houston area that was showing it. I have to say it didn't disappoint. It had all of the classic George Romero zombie movie elements;
*Creepy plot where the dead suddenly return to life
*Gruesome scenarios
*Group of characters who seem to put their own ambitions/egos ahead of surviving as a group
*People making stupid decisions that get them chomped
*Jabs at society and humanity
*Using current issues/events as part of the blot
I gather Romero, like John Carpenter, make some good horror movies, but have less-than favorable views of governmental figures. There are scenes with a squad of guys presumably to be military stealing from the main characters at gunpoint. There is another scene where a police officer murders a defenseless old couple after making a dumb decision that got him chomped (when the old man says "don't open that door" it's probably a good idea to stop and ask why instead of screaming at him and going through the door anyway).
While a distrust of government is a healthy thing (to an extent of course) I have to disagree with Romero's dim view of humanity. When disasters strike, of course you're going to have instances of theft, mayhem, murder, etc. However not on the scale as Romero films portray it. You also have a lot of people coming together to help each other and defend each other. I also feel people would work more together to survive.
One thing about Romero movie that always boggles my mind. Is how the characters seem to follow their own ambitions/egos that lead to dumb choices that gets them chomped. I've always watched these kinds of movies from a view of "what would I do and not get chomped." For example, the lead character is obsessed with filming for "truth" (part of the government-media-complex rant). However, someone gets attacked by a zombie while the camera man films it instead of helping. In one scene, the party is casually walking out of a hospital after having shot four zombies already. The main character films a zombie walking up behind the party and chomping one of the guys. Haven't these people ever heard of a rear guard?
Throughout the film, the party has to stop to upload/download their video. While the TV filters the zombie epidemic, bloggers and other internet information sources are telling the story as it progresses. I took this to mean the internet is the new information media that cannot be filtered or controlled by any government. Kind of like HAM radio operators broadcasting on September 11, 2001. I can certainly buy that.
The only other spoiler I will include is because of the nature of the film (documentary-type like the Blair Witch Project) there is a lot of camera shake. That makes me dizzy. I had to look at the floor often times because the sudden, jerky, camera movement was making me dizzy. Otherwise I recommend this movie to any horror lover.

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